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Understanding Wrongful Death Claims  

Wrongful death lawsuits are brought as a result of a person’s negligent or reckless actions causing the death of another person. This could be due to a wide range of circumstances, from car accidents to medical malpractice to criminal behavior. In essence, these are an attempt to seek financial justice for the deceased by recovering damages for the financial and emotional loss caused by their untimely death. 

Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim Forward in CT 

A key aspect of Connecticut's wrongful death laws is the limitation on who can bring a claim. Unlike some states where certain family members, such as spouses or children, can file wrongful death claims directly, Connecticut does not allow this.  

Instead, only the executor or administrator of the deceased's estate (usually appointed in the deceased's will or by a court) can file a wrongful death lawsuit3. This lawsuit is meant to benefit the estate and, ultimately, the heirs of the deceased. 

Turning to the question of whether siblings have standing to sue for wrongful death in Connecticut, no, they cannot. Given that Connecticut law requires the estate's executor or administrator to file the suit, siblings cannot independently bring a wrongful death claim unless they are serving in that legal capacity. 

However, this does not mean that siblings are entirely without recourse. If a sibling is a named beneficiary in the deceased's will, they may benefit from any damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit. Additionally, if the deceased did not have a will, a sibling might inherit under Connecticut's intestacy laws, which dictate how an estate is divided when there is no will. 

The primary argument for allowing only the estate's executor or administrator to file a wrongful death claim is to ensure that the lawsuit is managed efficiently and in the best interest of all potential beneficiaries. It also helps to avoid multiple lawsuits for the same death, which could complicate proceedings and potentially deplete the estate's resources. 

Damages in Wrongful Death Claims  

Damages in a wrongful death claim are monetary awards intended to compensate the estate and family members of the decedent for the losses they have suffered due to the death. These damages can be divided into two main categories: economic and non-economic damages. 

Economic damages are tangible, out-of-pocket expenses related to the decedent's death. They include: 

  • Medical expenses. These include any medical costs incurred as a result of the injury that ultimately led to the death. This could involve emergency care, hospital stays, surgeries, medication, and any other relevant costs. 

  • Funeral and burial costs. The reasonable costs of the decedent's funeral and burial can be claimed as damages. 

  • Loss of earnings. This refers to the income that the decedent would have earned had they lived. It takes into account the decedent's age, health, life expectancy, occupation, skills, and other factors. 

  • Loss of benefits. If the decedent provided certain benefits to their dependents (such as insurance or pension benefits), these can also be claimed. 

  • Loss of inheritance. This covers what the beneficiaries could have expected to inherit if the decedent had lived a normal lifespan. 

Non-economic damages are intangible losses that do not have a specific price or value. They include: 

  • Pain and suffering. This refers to the physical pain and emotional suffering experienced by the decedent prior to their death. 

  • Loss of consortium or companionship. This involves the loss of love, companionship, comfort, guidance, and nurturing that the decedent would have provided to their family members. 

  • Mental anguish. This refers to the emotional pain suffered by the surviving family members due to the loss of their loved ones.  

In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded. These are not intended to compensate for a loss but rather to punish the defendant for particularly egregious behavior and deter similar conduct in the future. 

Retain Our Firm  

At Zayas Law Firm, we make ourselves available to our clients and potential clients to discuss their case-specific needs. Should you suffer the loss of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, our attorneys can advise you of your legal rights and options. We are also equipped to help estate executors file and pursue a claim.  

Reach out to us online or via phone (860) 854-9156 today.  

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